ONE of Spain’s most wanted terrorists has been arrested by police in Scotland after apparently living a double life for more than a decade.
Beñat Atorrasagasti Ordonez – a member of the Basque terror group ETA – was arrested during a raid on his home in Edinburgh late on Friday night.
Officers from Lothian and Borders Police descended on the Leith flat he shared with his family after an investigation lasting several months.
The 36-year-old – a forger and weapons smuggler alleged to have helped at least ten gunmen cross between France and Spain – had been on the run since 2001.
The Spanish Interior Ministry said Atorrasagasti had been a member of a “sleeper cell” which had been lying low while awaiting orders from the terror group’s high command. He had been living in the rented property in Leith with his family “for some time”, it added.
He is due to appear tomorrow before Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where extradition proceedings are expected to begin.
Atorrasagasti, originally from San Sebastian, near the border with France, is alleged to have joined ETA in 1996 and to have become a forger and smuggler of both people and weapons between France and Spain.
He has been on Spain’s most-wanted list since 2008. His arrest followed a lengthy joint operation between Spain’s Civil Guard and Lothian and Borders Police.
A judge at the National Court in Madrid made a formal written request to British authorities to detain him under a European Arrest Warrant.
The Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement last night: “Everything suggests he was part of ETA’s ‘reserve apparatus’ – groups formed by fugitives who are prepared to form active cells when the terror leadership decides.”
Police last night distanced themselves from reports that his presence in Scotland was somehow linked to an Irish republican plot to target the London Olympics.